Can A Headache Be Caused by Weak Breathing?

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Active member
Jul 14, 2006
In the past couple of weeks I have noticed 2 or 3 times when I woke up from an afternoon nap in my recliner I would feel a lite headache accross the front of my head. It goea away in a few minutes. My lungs are weak now and I was just wondering if during the nap if my breathing was not strong enough could it cause the lite headache? Have any of you ever heard of this symptiom as a sign of low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels in your blood ? I use a bipap when I can at night, if the salivia is not pouring from my mouth. I have noticed a lot more chest and abdominal movement with the bipap machine on than I do with out it . I just dont see much movement at all when I breathe. Let me know if my headache can be a sign of low oxygen or high carbon dioxide if you have ever experienced this. Thanks

Rick McMahan

PS I have not been able to hold my breath for over 6 months. I also cannot take a big deep breath any more. Another strange thing that is related to this is when I have to exert a lot of effort , like getting up out of a chair, I have no control over my outflow of my air and as it goes out I make these loud strange sounds in my throat. I cannot control the sounds either. Have you ever heard of this stuff?
Hi Rick. When you fall asleep your breathing slows down and weakens and the O2 goes down and CO2 goes up. Try using your Bipap for your naps in the recliner as an experiment.You may even feel more rested with it. I can't say I've heard about the noise thing but it could be the muscles are getting weaker and letting the skin flap around making the noises.
Thanks Al for your reply. But is a headache a sign of low o2 or high CO2?

rickmcmahan said:
Thanks Al for your reply. But is a headache a sign of low o2 or high CO2?


Hi Rick,

It is a sign of high CO2. That is most likely why you are getting headaches. Are you able to take about 10 fast, as deep as you can breaths? If your headache goes away, then you will know for sure that your breathing is not strong enough when you are lying down, because your chest muscles don't have to work as hard when you are sitting up.

Thanks for the replys. Yes your view confirms what I have been assuming was the cause of the headaches being C02 being too high in my blood. I try to sleep with my bipap but it depends how much druling my saliva produces. If too much, I dont use the bipap. I have no control over my lips now. I wind up using a piece of masking tape to tape them babies together when I sleep to keep my mouth moist. Is lip weakness common with ALS? I use the taped mouth in the bipap at times too. Thanks for the info.

Rick, have you had a blood test for oxygen and CO2 levels? This might help you and your doctors determine what course of action you might need to take. Also, is there a way to have a respiratory therapist help you figure out if the BI-PAP machine is working effectively for you? Maybe you have done this already, but there are several kinds of masks, and some work better than others depending on your preference and physical features.
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